Scottish Alternative Music Awards Preview

Posted on February 25, 2012


This Thursday, 1st March, sees the Scottish Alternative Music Awards return for a third year, with the event promising to eclipse the success of its predecessors.

Comedian Billy Kirkwood will be hosting the evening, and some of the most respected voices in Scottish music including Vic Galloway, Jim Gellatly and Ally McCrae will be presenting awards.

There will also be live performances from Vukovi, Fridge Magnets, Bwani Junction and some surprise guest, which I’m certainly intrigued about.

The event takes place at The Garage in Glasgow and is open to the general public. Tickets are still available, and at £10 (+bf) seem a bargain for what is fast becoming one of the biggest nights in the unsigned music calendar.

Buy Tickets

And don’t forget, YOU get to choose the winners and can do so by heading over to the official website and picking your favourite in each of the seven categories. Voting closes on Monday 27th February at 9pm, so get on it fast!

Cast Your Vote

I’m a massive fan of what the SAMA’s are doing, and firmly believe the awards provide a huge boost to bands in Scotland, and give musicians something to aspire to. These awards are the most relevant and progressive we have in Scotland, and it’s great to see them go from strength to strength.

There has clearly been a lot of work put in to get the event to where it is today, and I got the chance to pick the brain of the driving force behind it all, Richy Muirhead.

We all know that the SAMA’s started as a uni project, but what made you decide to do an awards show for it?

In 2009 I went to the MTV EMA’s in Berlin and was completely inspired and blown away by their entire show and production. Around the same time I had to begin a project, so it felt fitting to do something of that vein but far smaller and more suited to my music taste. After lots of thought and research I began SAMAs.

The award show takes place on a single night, but the process must be a long one. When did work start on this year’s show? and what work has gone on behind the scenes (that people probably don’t see or know about)?

Its always on my mind, and i’m forever chatting to people about it and how to improve certain aspects. Although to answer the question I normally begin officially around August time.

What issues have you had to overcome in getting the awards to where they are?

Oh so many! I think the main one is being to create a brand which people can understand and feel a part of, especially for those in the music community. Areas such as Sponsorship and Press are always difficult to nail down!

What do you think such an award show does for the unsigned music scene? and in particular the bands involved?

I think it gives a chance to celebrate the artists involved in the scene from all around the country and of different genres. Awards also allow for the discovery of new music to fans from our press, social media, and promotional campaigns. Personally I see it as something exciting for music fans! From an artist/band point of view it shows that all the hard work, endless tours, recording, rehearsals are worthwhile and fans/industry respect what you do. 

You’ve got some big names involved in the ceremony, how did you go about securing them?

I’ve always been working in music, previously worked for Roadrunner Records, AEG Live, Red Bull and ran loads of events. So I’ve always been working with artists / brands, through work this has allowed me to make a lot of connections!

Can you explain a bit about how the nomination process works?

Of course. There are 6 regional music reps/panelists who live and breathe music from their job (Ayrshire / Glasgow / Edinburgh / Stirling / Inverness / Aberdeen). The judges are given criteria of which we expect our nominees to meet, and have about a months notice of this. There job then is to have a good think – go to gigs/listen to bands and decide who you feel most represents your region. The rest is done on a 2 week IP Public vote. So far we’ve reached over 15K votes! 

How has your every day life changed since the inception of the SAMA’s?

Quite a lot, I actually won ‘Young Entrepreneur Of The Year’ Award last year at West Sound’s awards which was cool! Since the awards etc I now do a lot of talks in educational institutions around Scotland about Project Management, Social Media, and Entrepreneurship. And when i’m out and about everyone calls me ‘The SAMA guy’ ha!

What are your hopes for the awards for next year and beyond?

Time will tell. See you on the 1st!

Posted in: Features, Interviews